Keep dogs safe from Easter choco­lates

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DR PA­TRICK FO­LEY from

Easter doesn’t just cause havoc on waist­lines; it’s also a po­ten­tial death trap for dogs.

I’m al­ways re­mind­ing Ki­wis to keep any choco­late treats well out of reach of their pets – es­pe­cially around this time of the year.

Choco­late con­sump­tion can be toxic for dogs, with the po­ten­tial to cause se­ri­ous ill­ness and even death if too much is eaten.

Easter is one of the riski­est times for fam­ily dogs when stashes of choco­late are ‘within paws’ reach’ and vets tra­di­tion­ally see a no­table in­crease in the num­ber be­ing treated.

So why is some­thing so de­li­cious also po­ten­tially so harm­ful for man’s best friend?

Choco­late con­tains theo­bromine which causes a happy feel­ing in hu­mans and has a sim­i­lar ef­fect to caf­feine.

But it is toxic to an­i­mals, es­pe­cially dogs.

Dark choco­late is the most danger­ous due to its high lev­els of theo­bromine (com­pared to white choco­late) and poi­son­ing is more likely in smaller dogs be­cause tox­i­c­ity lev­els are determined by weight.


Theo­bromine is also poi­sonous to cats though fe­lines rarely con­sume choco­late.

Your pet is un­likely to tell you that it’s been a naughty pup so it’s im­por­tant for ev­ery dog owner to be aware of the symptoms of ca­nine choco­late con­sump­tion.

Look out for hy­per­ac­tiv­ity, rest­less­ness, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhoea, tremors or seizures and take your dog to a vet im­me­di­ately if it dis­plays th­ese signs.

It’s rare but poi­son­ing can re­sult in re­s­pi­ra­tory fail­ure or car­diac ar­rest if un­treated.

It is also worth re­mem­ber­ing that dogs don’t bother un­wrap­ping the eggs first and are likely to swallow the foil as well, so any miss­ing eggs could pos­si­bly have been eaten.

The ab­so­lute best thing you can do is keep choco­late away from your dog; it’s tempt­ing enough for adults but for dogs it’s ir­re­sistible.

Here’s what to do if your dog con­sumes choco­late:

Con­tact your vet to see the amount con­sumed po­ten­tially poi­sonous.

A 200gm Easter egg gen­er­ally has enough theo­bromine to be toxic to a 10kg dog, while a 100g Easter bunny could poi­son a 5kg dog.

Your vet may wish to in­duce vom­it­ing if your dog isn’t show­ing any clin­i­cal signs and it has been less than an hour or two since in­ges­tion.

In se­vere cases your pet may re­quire blood tests, seizure con­trol and in­tra­venous flu­ids. if is

Don’t be tempted to give him choco­late – it could be the last treat he ever has.

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